Do you need a new head unit? If so, maybe you could sweet-talk her into a Best Buy gift card so you can pick your own unit.

Ouch, how are you going to avoid installing “best buy” junk in your car without offending her? Maybe you can convince her that you really want something else (like a nice sweater) instead. Either that or you can give her some techno-babble about how those systems will not work correctly in your car (I think you car will only work with metric electrical components). The “gift card” idea might work if you can use the card to buy something else you want instead. That’s a tough one, good luck!

My first question would by “why?” Why does she want to give you a new head unit? Does your current system have some sort of problem?

As for Craig’s “Best Buy junk” remark, remember Best Buy just sells stuff that other people make. You can get cheap junk units from them, or you can get decent brands. It’s up to the consumer to know the difference. Mercedes used to use Blaupunkt radios in their cars, but Blaupunkt has really gone down market in the last 20 years, so I don’t know what they use now.

My experience at “best buy” is that they sell low to middle quality audio equipment only. I haven’t specifically shopped for car audio there, but I don’t expect that I would find anything I would want to buy. I was just responding to the OP’s description of a “discount radio head system.”

I also would not buy a Blaupunkt today, I’m not sure what benz was suppling in the 90s, in the 80s most people bought euro cars without radios so they could install high end systems themselves. I assume the current ones have a decent audio system, it would be difficult to replace a current one anyway because the are integrated with everything else in the car (bluetooth phone, navigation system, ipod, steering wheel controls etc).

Why put a cheap system in such a nice car? It’s a lot like those people who put expensive systems in cheap cars; it just doesn’t add up. You will notice a marked difference in sound quality with a better unit versus a cheaper one. My old car had a Pioneer system in it which I thought sounded great until I got a new car with an Alpine system; talk about much better quality sound. There trully is a difference; and you shouldn’t be driving around your Mercedes with an off brand, crappy-sounding system in it.

Which one is more important to you?
Which one do you most want to spend the future with?

Have you ever noticed the cars with the reindeer noses & antlers? Or other weird ornaments? Strange license plate borders? Many of those come strange things from our kids and lovers. Anything my kids or a lover gave me went on the car, no matter how rediculous. It’s just a matter of priorities.

I don’t shop Best Buy either, I was just going by the brand names on their web site. I assume they can get any model of the brands they do carry, but probably push the low end stuff in their stores. They just opened a new store a few miles from me and I haven’t even been there to see what they have, before that the nearest store was 40 or 50 miles away and I think I went there once in 20 or so years. Didn’t buy anything then. Stuff like that I buy over the web.

I was thinking she wanted to give him a discount/gift card to help pay for a new head unit.

Maybe I’ve conditioned my kids over the years, but they laugh at that stuff even more than I do. About an hour ago they saw a xmas wreath on someone’s grill and just about fell out of their seats laughing.

“Happy wife, happy life.”

My experience at “best buy” is that they sell low to middle quality audio equipment only.

I agree with this…But personally I would NEVER spend any great amount of money on any car audio system.

I don’t spend a lot on car audio either, but still probably more than I could spend at Best Buy; they do have a decent selection of DVDs, CDs, etc. though.

First, wait to see what she buys. If it’s OK, then keep it - if it fits into the dash. If you don’t like it, you can exchange it for a radio that you do like. Is she knowledgeable enough concerning audio systems that she would know if you exchanged it? Would it matter to her? It shouldn’t. She should be happy that you took her present and made it yours, even if it means an exchange - for something that “fits” in your Benz. My wife doesn’t pretend to understand electronics. If I like it, that’s fine. If not, I exchange it for a like item that I will be happy with. I bought her a digital camera for her birthday. I discussed the general specifications of the camera with her and then bought it. She kept it, but I certainly would have been happy to exchange it for another if she wanted it.

The radio in my car works fine. I put a 6 disc changer in the trunk about 5 years ago. I cant imagine how messing with the electronics on an old car could actually be a good idea. “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

Tell her that you appreciate the thought she put into the gift, but that it is not something you want. Not every gift is a home run. Have some other suggestions for her.

Well, there is nothing especially tricky or anything about replacing the head unit of a car stereo system, at least most of the time. Mercedes did occasionally use external amplifiers, so it might not be a trivial swap, but probably not a big deal either. It certainly should not affect anything else on a car of that vintage.

If there truly is nothing wrong with the one you have, I don’t understand the gift.

if only it could be that easy…

No, she bought the head unit after Thanksgiving and couldn’t hold in the surprise anymore so she told me.

Why didn’t you just tell her you just wanted a bucket, a sponge, and some wax? The woman tries to do something nice for you and how do you show your appreciation of her?

In order not to hurt her feelings accept the unit with pleasure and gratitude. When you go to install the unit, with her not around, “discover” that the unit does not work correctly. Some sort of electric circuit problem. Perhaps the electrical system on the Mercedes was of strange voltage that was incompatible with the unit she purchased. Get creative in your excuse.
Now sadly tell her that when you went to get replacement from Best Buy they no longer had any more of them, after all she bought it months ago. Tell her you hope she doesn’t mind but you used the store credit to purchase a GPS unit instead (or whatever else looks good) and will always think of her gift when you use it.